Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GAITHER, v., n. Also gether; geather (Kcd. 1893 Stonehaven Jnl. (2 Feb.) 2); gither (em.Sc. 1896 “I. Maclaren” Kate Carnegie 250; Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cried on Sunday 8); gedder, gadder; gidder (Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 54), gaider (Abd.4 1931), †gadyr (Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 42). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. gather. See P.L.D. §§ 49. (1), 135, 164. 2, 165. [Sc. ′ge:ðər, ′gɛð-; ne., sn.Sc. + ′gɪð-; Sh., Abd. d for ð]

I. v. 1. With oot: of a number of people, to turn out to attend a meeting (Abd.27 1953). Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 61:
There's nae a third o' the fowk gedders oot [at church], an' we wint a' the lang sermons an' the like.

2. Used absol.: to accumulate wealth, to save (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Slg., wm.Sc.1 1953); sometimes with refl. (w.Sc. 1880 Jam.; Slg.3 1950). Gen. in ppl.adjs. gaithered = rich, well-to-do (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 58; Abd., Rxb.4 1953), also weel-geddert, -gaithered, -gethered, id. (Mry., ne.Sc., Ags.18, Fif., Lnk., Ayr.8, Kcb.9, Dmf. 1953), and gaitherin, saving (Abd.27 1953). Vbl.n. gatherin(g), the accumulating of wealth, saving; accumulated wealth, savings (Uls.4 1953). Also gather-up, n., id. (Id.). Abd. 1740  Hist. MSS. Comm. X. i. 199:
I litle cane expect that way, tho he had had longer tyme to gather, for I dare say he did not studie much to make rich.
Ayr. 1823  Galt Entail viii.:
After a' our frugality and gathering.
Dmb. 1846  W. Cross Disruption xviii.:
Ye're weel-gathered I think . . . here ye ha'e three notes o' a hunder each, and five o' ten pound the piece.
Abd. 1851  W. Anderson Rhymes 196:
The Kirk got the gatherin's o' our Aunty Meg.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays 6:
Noo, Fytie wis a gethert carle, Fa weel the loss cud bide.
Ant. 1892  Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.):
“A nerrow getherin' gets a wide scatterin'.” A penurious and miserly father often has spendthrift sons.
Edb. 1894  W. G. Stevenson Puddin' 65:
I'm getherin' up to buy Tam — the horse, ye ken.
Abd. 1910  Evening Gazette (12 March):
I thocht noo 'at ye wid 'a' been a gey geddert aul' carl, an' wid 'a' been able t' pit a gey curn siller int' onything gweed.
Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 200:
A gey grippy aul' carle, Watty wis, an' aw'se warran' he wis weel geddert.
Ags. 1938 17 :
I remember an old lady some thirty or forty years ago, referring to a man of our acquaintance who was spending a good deal of money very wisely on the education of his family, remarking to me: “He maun be a gaithered carlie.”
wm.Sc. 1953  Bulletin (15 May):
The good ship Lady Killarney . . . carried a distinguished, and, it may be presumed, a weel gaithered party drawn from all over the world.

Hence gatherer, “a frugal, saving, thrifty person” (Uls. 1901 North. Whig (8 May)).

3. tr. or absol. To make a collection of contributions of money, to collect (a sum of money) in subscriptions (Gall. 1900 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Slg., Kcb., Rxb., Uls. 1953), sometimes to collect subscriptions for the purchase of (something). Often with up. Obs. in Eng. since early 18th cent. but surviving in dial. Hence gether-up, n., a collecting of money from contributions, a collection, a collective subscription, a “whip-round,” gen. for some charitable purpose (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd. 1953). Ags. 1889  Barrie Tillyloss Scandal 147:
The ladies of the congregation, however, . . . “gathered” a gown, and Findlater swore to wear it.

4. In harvesting: to collect sufficient corn to form a sheaf after cutting (s.Sc. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 246; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 244; Abd.27 1953). Also in Eng. dial. Abd. 1863  G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod i. x.:
Here Maggy, my doo, come an' gather to Mr Sutherlan'. Ane o' the young gentlemen can tak' your place at the bin'in'.
Abd. 1920  G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 20:
Wad gart them think o' bygone days when they'd but scythe or hyook, Wi' sonsie deems tae gether, an' a man tae bin' an' stook.

Hence (1) gatherer, the person who collects the corn into sheaves for the binder (Abd.7 1925; Abd.2 1948, gedderer); (2) gedderins, gleanings, remnants, scraps of any kind (Abd. 1953). (1) m.Lth. 1786  G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1794) xxv.:
O' Gath'rers next unruly-bands Do spread themsel's athwart the Lands.
Abd. 1843–5  Trans. Highl. Soc. 265:
During the time the mowers are sharping their scythes the rakings are put into sheaves by the gatherers, bound and stooked by the bandsters.
Mry. 1914  J. W. D. in North. Scot:
A gatherer and a bandster followed each scythe, and again a raker followed every four scythes.
Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 141:
It made a' the odds i' the wardle tull a gedderer gin the cutter wis gweed. A man 'at laid it doon tichtly gid the 'oman a better chance, 'cause she hidna 't a' to raivel oot amon' idder.
(2) Abd. 1951  Buchan Observer (20 Nov.):
The rain washed up a goodly show of “gedderans” on which Jim Crow was lustily feeding. . . . Now the cottar's children are no longer too grateful of the tattie gedderans.

5. In Agric.: to plough a ridge so as to throw the soil towards the middle of the ridge, the plough turning towards the right for the return journey (Sc. 1825 Jam.); Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. getherin, a section of a field so ploughed (Abd.2, Arg.1 1947). Bch. 1735  J. Arbuthnot Farmers (1811) 86:
We begin at the two adjacent braes, and plough close over to the next furrows, as if we were gathering a ridge.
Lth. 1765  A. Dickson Agriculture 308:
There are three different ways of plowing ridges: gathering, casting, and cleaving. Gathering keeps the crown and furrows of the ridge in the same place in which they were before.
Bwk. 1809  R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 192:
Generally speaking, the whole arable land of the county is formed into ridges, either flat or gathered. In clay soil . . . the ridges are double gathered and of 15 feet broad.
Bnff. 1812  D. Souter Agric. Bnff., App. 81:
In infield ground, the ridges ought to be cloven to break-fur, gathered to bear, and yoked to bear-root and awal, the furrows kept open.
Kcd. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XI. 40:
Small fields which had been under the cultivation of the plough, and that for a considerable length of time, the ridges being raised high by the old plan of constant gathering.
Abd. 1928 15 :
When geddert, the ridge has a backbone or feerin.
Ayr. 1952  per
The brek is the mark down the field at the start; ploughing is done on both sides of the brek, the earth being turned over always towards the brek; that is gaitherin.

6. To recover one's faculties, collect one's wits, pull oneself together, rally (Abd., Ags., Slg.3, wm.Sc.1, Rxb.4, Uls.4 1953). Also fig. Used with or without refl. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 8:
Nae answer yet, for he had fa'en aswoon . . . But howsomever in a little wee, Himsel he gathers and begins to see.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 58:
A year or twa aifter he geed into that toon (farm) he wiz unco sair awa wee't: bit noo he's beginnin' to gaither himsel'; an' anither year or twa 'ill pit him on's legs.
Lth. 1882  “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny ix.:
Sit doon, Dan, an' gather yersel a wee, for I promised to the mistress to speak to you about Mr Kirkwood.
Abd. 1916 3 :
“I'll need to gaither,” I shall have to collect my energies (for the effort of getting out of bed in the morning).

Phr.: to gather to one's feet, — legs, to get to one's feet, to rise up. Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings (1813) xxiii.:
Wi' this, the fiddler screw'd his pegs, An' I soon gather'd to my legs.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 114:
E'en Tammie Pethrie's wrackit mare, Had gather't to her feet ance mair.

7. Of butter in butter-making: to form, collect in the churn. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Yks. dial. Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums xiv.:
The Black Man would gie her power . . . to kep the butter frae gatherin' in the kirn.

8. To put the gatherin-coal on the raked-together embers of a fire; see Gaitherin, 3. (2) (Lnk. 1880; Cai., Abd., Ags.18, Fif.14 1953). Lth. 1928  S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 35:
But when the bairns are beddit and I'm getherin the fire I get unco' doon-hertit, maybe wi' the tire.

9. To pick up and put together (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence (1) geddery, gaddery, n., an accumulation, a miscellaneous collection (Upper Cld. 1825 Jam., geddery); (2) gather-up, n., (a) a wandering rag-man (n.Ir. 1900 E.D.D.); (b) a motley collection of things or people (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai.7, Fif., Ayr.9, Kcb.9, Dmf., Rxb.4, Uls.4 1953). (1) Sh. 1886  J. Burgess Sk. & Poems 93:
Dere wir dey . . . Uncle Lowrie's hael gaddery o' smuggled stuff hoiddit i' da muckle holl.
Abd. 1900  E.D.D., rare:
Sic a geddery o' stuff she brocht wi' her.
Sh. 1950  New Shetlander No. 22, 28:
If fok wid send lists o dem [idioms] ta da “New Shetlander,” we wid sün hae a gadderie ta pit ida Shetland Wird Book.
(2) (b) Ags. 1922  J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden vii.:
Ye never saw sic a gether-up o' blackit, pew-wew craturs i' yer born days.
Ayr. 1952 9 :
In a Church in Ayr at the counting of the Freewill Offering, I heard an Office-bearer remark “That's a gaither-up!” An envelope containing a total of two or three shillings had just been opened, the amount being made up of halfpennies, pennies, threepenny pieces and sixpences.

10. Phr. & combs.: (1) gaither-dam, †gathered-, a dam which collects water from the drainage of the subsoil and from rain, as opposed to one filled from artificial water-channels (Abd., Ags. 1953); †(2) gathered winds, eddy-winds, cross currents of wind; (3) to gaither the (one's) feet, see Fit, II. 15. (1) Sc. 1736  Elchies Decisions (1813) I. App. II. No. 2:
Where a mill having only a gathered dam is insufficient for the sucken . . . the vassals, after waiting 48 hours, and the mill not capable to serve them in that time, may carry away as much of their corns to other mills as . . . necessary for . . . their families.
(2) Slk. 1819  Blackwood's Mag. (April) 78:
Besides, the place where I lived being exposed to two or three gathered winds, as they are called by shepherds, the storm raged there with redoubled ferocity.

II. n. †In ploughing: the earth thrown up in the furrow in gathering (see v. 5. above). Sc. 1784  J. Small Ploughs 249:
The gather forward may easily be increased or diminished, by the manner in which the axle is fixed on, and that a proportionable difference will at the same time be made on the gather below, or wideness on the road.

[O.Sc. has gad(d)er, v., from 1375. The Eng. form gather is found in Sc. from 1558.]

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"Gaither v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2018 <>



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